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Three Pitfalls of the Home-Based Entrepreneur
By Christine Durst & Michael Haaren
August 16, 2012
businesses are a lot like newborn babies. The big difference is, a
business never sleeps. But similarities abound: They both require
careful tending. Both are fragile. Both are more work than you expect.
And both can offer profound joy and satisfaction.
But we all make mistakes as we learn to parent. Here are three that
home-based businesspeople often commit as they try out their new role
as moms and dads of their own gigs.
1. Failing to coordinate with significant others.
This is a big no-no. You’d never consider bringing an actual baby
home to raise without some intense consultation with your partner,
right? You’d talk to your children about it, too.
Bringing a business into the home is much the same. The new entity will
demand time, attention, energy, money. The rest of your family
won’t feel the same way you do about it, no matter how you handle
the introduction. But your chances of success will improve dramatically
if everyone is prepared and on board. (Don’t forget to give them
regular updates, too.)
2. Going gaga with credit cards.
In our culture, we lionize businesspeople. They’re celebrities.
If Bob Businessman has made millions selling cockroach motels, we hang
on his every word, regardless of whether there’s a bug in the
picture. Surely he’s an expert on whatever he's talking about.
He’s a captain of industry!
Some of this “tiara effect” settles on the heads of new
entrepreneurs, too. Since it’s only a question of time before
success knocks, they reason, why not buy that high-end computer and
laptop and smartphone right now? Out comes the plastic, up goes the
debt, and down go the chances of reaching profits before the business
runs out of money.
3. Getting bogged down in a business plan.
The prevailing wisdom is that every business needs a business plan.
Many older advisors, in particular – those who earned their
experience before the web and related devices really took hold –
believe that no initiative should proceed without a full-blown plan.
This means detailed financial projections, estimates of market share,
risk assessments, personnel requirements and the like.
But the vast majority of the 20 million or so home-based businesses are
modest one-person operations – virtual assistants, online
researchers, bloggers, event planners, graphic designers. They
aren’t big enough to justify heavy analytics, which in any case
are more important to investors and lenders than to sole proprietors.
Moreover, home-based businesses are usually web-dwelling creations
operating in a constantly-changing environment, where threats and
opportunities pop up almost overnight. It’s a waste of time to
hold these companies to old brick-and-mortar rules.
Finally, since most small businesses fail due to weaknesses in
marketing, what home-based businesses really need is an informal
marketing plan – something flexible, at most a few pages, and
easy to revise as conditions change. This helps them land customers and
achieve profitability as soon as possible, reducing their chances of
contracting that fatal small-business illness – gushing red ink.
Christine Durst and Michael Haaren are leaders in the work-at-home
movement and advocates of de-rat-raced living. Their latest book
is Work at Home Now,
a guide to finding home-based jobs. They offer additional guidance on
finding home-based work at www.RatRaceRebellion.com. To read features
by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators
Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2012 BY STAFFCENTRIX, DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM